Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Yves Engler highlights the two-tiered justice system exacerbated by the Harper Cons, as anybody with a sufficient level of privilege avoids any punishment for wrongdoing:
One law for the rulers and another for the rest of us -- wasn't that supposed to have ended with feudalism?

If a poor person is caught taking a computer or some other piece of property from a federal building you can bet police will be called and the thief will go before a judge to decide if she/he goes to jail. Yet when a Senator who is paid at least $132,000 per year in salary illegally claims many times the value of a stolen computer as a "living expense" they simply have to return the money.

Of course so-called white-collar crime is generally treated less severely than other forms of illegal activity, which is another way of saying there are different rules for 'important people' than the rest of us. If you have high enough status you can usually buy your way out of crime.

For example when Griffiths Energy recently pled guilty to bribing officials in Chad to gain access to lucrative energy properties, the Calgary-based corporation agreed to pay $10.35 million under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act. But no individual at the privately held company will be pursued criminally. Apparently, you can pay a multi-million dollar bribe to gain access to a poor country's natural resources and then simply pay some more money when you are caught.
- But Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report on what may turn into be a rare exception, as Elections Commissioner Yves Cote has recommended that charges be laid against the Conservatives perpetrators of the Robocon election fraud.

- David Climenhaga nominates the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for a "Turfy" award in falsely claiming to be a grassroots organization:
(U)ntil recently I had no idea just how pure and refined an example of Astroturfing is the clever-boots organization that gave Canadian political discourse the “Teddy Award” – allegedly to highlight government waste.

But the fact is – and we have CTF Operations Vice-President Shannon Morrison to thank for this revelation – the organization has only five members. [Ed. note: later updated to six without explanation in another sign of true transparency.]

Let me say that again, just to make sure there is no misunderstanding: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has only five members!

Now, you may have had the impression that the CTF – which is almost invariably referred to by the mainstream media as a “taxpayer watchdog” – has something like 70,000 members, every one a concerned Canadian frowning grimly at the idea of governments wasting their hard-earned tax dollars on things like pensions for public employees, the long-gun registry and the long-form census.

Mind you, if these taxpayers also happen to be concerned about wasteful plans to spend bazillions on easy-to-shoot-down F-35 stealth bombers or mere billions for unneeded and counterproductive prison cells, of course, they’ll need to look elsewhere for support. Notwithstanding its claim to be “non-partisan,” the CTF is reliably pro-Conservative and has nothing bad to say about those particular Tory boondoggles.
MORRISON: “Tony, I apologize for my delay in answering. In law, the CTF is a federal not for profit corporation. Technically the only ‘members’ are the board directors themselves. … The bylaws you quote are extremely out of date but even with that we have never had a membership other than the board directors. We have worked very hard to use consistent language to reflect this over the last several years. The financial summary found on our website is what we have for our donors and supporters.” (Emphasis added.)

So there you have it. The entire membership of the CTF is made up of five people. As it was, it is now and ever shall be. And the finances of their organization are none of your business – even if you thought you were a member.
- Alice Funke and Andrew Coyne both see the Libs' leadership campaign going off the rails.

- Finally, Dan Tan discusses the opportunities available for the NDP in building cross-border connections - as well as Tom Mulcair's strong start on that front.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:26 p.m.


    Thank you for your continued support.

    After the venom I encountered at "Rabble", I am more in awe of the decorum & respectable discourse you have fostered here.

    Dan Tan